Posted by paulrivas on:
Cruising downtown Goleta last week, I happened into the antique store on Hollister. For sale in the display case immediately to the left of the front entrance is a copy of the 1966 local classic Goleta: The Good Land, by Walter Tompkins, in its original cellophane, for $175!
Would the Santa Barbara Man About Goleta shell out 2000 Mexican pesos for the bona fide piece of the local historical record? Or would he bid on the already-open $5.99 copy currently for sale on ebay? The answer, as regular readers will already have guessed, is none of the above. In lieu of paying anything at all, I went straight to the Goleta Library history section and checked the sucker out for three weeks, free of charge.
To show my unbridled enthusiasm for Goleta: The Good Land, which I'm only one third through yet, here are a few highlights through the 1870s:
1833 - the first baby born in Santa Barbara to American parents pops out.
1840s - Juan "Flaco" Brown, the Californian Paul Revere, covered the 630 miles from L.A. to Monterey on horseback in four (4) days to warn of an American attack on Mexican installations, a record Tompkins claims had never been equaled.
1859 - The only simoon ever recorded in North America hit Goleta, causing the temperature to rise to 133 degrees Fahrenheit and birds to drop dead in midair.
1862 - The Reverend Thomas Starr King, for whom the storied local nursery school of which the Santa Barbara Man About Goleta is a proud graduate is named, married Col. Hollister and wife Annie, for whom Glen Annie is named.
1860s - The first saloon is at Hollister and Fairview, causing this budding village to be known as Whiskey Flats, in contrast to the other budding village at Hollister and Patterson called Old Goleta, which was populated exclusively with abstainers.
And my favorite, from the 1870s - Ellwood Cooper, for whom all the many Ellwoods around town are named, was himself named after an English writer who read for the blind poet Milton. In a letter to a relative, Cooper advised:
"The people who have come here are rather above the average, and most have means. There are very few squatters. In fact, that class cannot get on here. This is no place for poor people, and I would discourage all such from coming."
Goleta has been economically out of reach of the lower classes since at least the 1870s! Talk about no nacos!
UPDATE: Read Part II